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If you want to force PostgreSQL into recovery, you can create a recovery.conf with no restore_command or streaming replication configuration set. Leave hot_standby set to off in postgresql.conf. Personally I recommend taking a base backup (pg_basebackup -X stream) and using that, rather than doing it to the original DB.


I now believe my question to be a duplicate of Slow ORDER BY with LIMIT. I simplified the query (taking out the complication of a join table) to what matters. Fast query explain (analyze, buffers) SELECT * FROM big_table where small_table_id = 822573 ORDER BY sort_key_1, sort_key_2, sort_key_3 Sort (cost=24642.79..24686.64 rows=17540 width=113) ...

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